A Song For All Beings

Last Saturday night, I attended a performance of A Song For All  Beings to a packed house. Composed and produced by Jennifer Berezan and friends, A Song For All Beings is based on the Buddhist practice of metta and the four immeasurable minds or Brahma Viharas (divine abodes) of loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity.

The main lyrics are:

May all beings be happy!
May all beings be safe!
May all beings everywhere be free!

This theme was repeated in various forms throughout the performance. In addition, there were performances by dancers of the Dakini Warriors, a monologue by Naomi Newman, a wonderful improvisation by Nina Wise, chanting of the Heart Sutra by Anam Thubten Rimpoche, and many other uplifting performances. Kiva Simova did overtone singing similar to what Ana Barrios did in Cuenca, Spain in 2015. Jack Kornfield gave a wonderful talk about loving kindness from the Metta Sutra.

One of the highlights for me was Joanna Macy‘s talk on the Shambhala Warrior Prophecy which is essentially about the bodhisattva with each of us. She received this transmission from Drugu Choegyal Rinpoche (see also this video).

The shambhala warriors posses two implements (or weapons) to bring about the total dismantle of all weapons from the so-called “barbarians” (imho – the military / industrial complex). By the way, this can be done because the weapons are man made by the human mind. They can be unmade by the human mind.

The shambhala warriors’ weapons are “compassion and insight into the radical interdependence of all phenomena and you need both.” Compassion is needed to motivate us to go out and do what is needed and not be afraid of the suffering that we encounter. Compassion is necessary, but not sufficient to get the job done. We also need the insight of interbeing (the interdependence of all things) in order to understand that there is no “us” against “them”, no “good guys” verses “bad guys.” As Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh says, “We are here to awaken to the illusion of our separateness.”

We are the shambhala warriors! We must not hesitate to eradicate injustice, racial discrimination, and we must learn to protect the happiness, safety and freedom of all beings.

Books by Joanna Macy

Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy

Joanna Macy
Chris Johnstone

The challenges we face can be difficult even to think about. Climate change, the depletion of oil, economic upheaval, and mass extinction together create a planetary emergency of overwhelming proportions. Active Hope shows us how to strengthen our capacity to face this crisis so that we … [Read More…]

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